A Queensland family has shared their heartbreak after their loved one became one of the state’s most recent ambulance ramping victims.
Grandfather Wayne Irving, 67, died last week while waiting more than three hours in an ambulance outside Ipswich Hospital, west of Brisbane.
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The next day, Cath Groom’s son found her dead in her Forest Lake home after she waited hours for an ambulance that never came. It would have been her 52nd birthday.
When Groom called for help, half the available ambulances were stuck on hospital emergency department ramps waiting to hand over patients, Queensland Ambulance Service commissioner Craig Emery has said, causing knock-on delays in response times.
Amid revelations some patients had waited almost 10 hours for a hospital bed, Queensland Health Minister Shannon Fentiman called a meeting of emergency department heads on Friday to find solutions to fix the state’s ramping issues.
Irving’s daughter Lauren Hansford broke down outside Ipswich Hospital on Thursday as she called for urgent health reforms.
Wayne Irving and Cath Groom died waiting in or for ambulances that were stuck on hospital emergency department ramps. Credit: 7NEWS
“(The health system) is failing us, it’s failing everyone around us and something needs to change,” she said.
“When you put a loved one in an ambulance, you expect them to … get the treatment they deserve.”
Fentiman said there was “no silver bullet” to solve ambulance ramping problems.
It comes as the latest data for the longest waits outside Queensland hospitals was revealed.
The longest time it took to offload a patient was nine hours and 54 minutes at Ipswich Hospital in June, the ramping data for May to September shows.
Wait times at Logan Hospital blew out to more than eight hours in June, July and September.
Long delays were also experienced at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital, Redlands and Queensland Elizabeth II Hospital.
The statewide median patient off-stretcher time was 28 minutes in May, 27 minutes in June-August and 26 minutes in September.
“I’m bringing together all the heads of emergency departments just to look at what more we can be doing to support them,” Fentiman said.
“I know that our system is under immense pressure.
“There’s no silver bullet but we’re throwing everything possible to improve the situation.”
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The Queensland Ambulance Service is the country’s busiest, responding to 1.2 million incidents a year.
Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said the state health system was “sick”.
“There’s always an excuse, there’s always a reason. At some stage the state has to be honest about where they are at,” he said on Thursday.
“The Queensland Health crisis is real.”
Meanwhile, Fentiman said a system outage that affected Queensland hospitals on Wednesday was caused by a firewall hardware issue.
Twenty-four hospitals were affected by the glitch. Staff were unable to access patients’ digital records for hours after experiencing log-in issues with the integrated electronic medical record system.
Fentiman said the issue was resolved on Wednesday afternoon and an inquiry, with assistance from the system’s external vendor, was underway.
“There’s been no risk to cybersecurity and no patient confidentiality has been impacted,” she said.
“And for the most part, hospitals were able to continue to provide that world-class care for Queenslanders.”
Fentiman confirmed some specialist outpatient appointments were affected by the outage and five minor elective surgeries were rescheduled.
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